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Episode 226: Fixing “Office Neck” – Part Two

Video Highlights

-Use an external object to help with neck exercises
-Improve neck strength and flexibility
-Do this every hour to increase focus and energy throughout the day

Today, we’re going to use the ball again to work on office neck part two.

Last week we talked about the idea that over the course of a day, very often people will develop a lot of tension in the back of the neck, because they wind up sitting like this at their desk all day. When that goes on for years, obviously, you create a lot tension, not only in the neck, but also in the upper back, which can leak out into your shoulders. So lots of people feel like they’re wearing heavy backpacks all the time, because they have so much tension.

So last week, we used the … Again, Simple Kits toy soft ball from the grocery store, whatever, and we just used it to work through some basic mobility exercises to create length through the back of the neck and a little bit more motion.

Now, the second element of this particular drill set that I really like to use, is I like to use the same ball in the head position, but now we’re going to be working on the upper back and also shoulder blade movement.

What we often find is, again, poor neck position, poor neck posture, because the tension it creates in the rest of the musculature can, as I said, disrupt what we call shoulder rhythm.

So, couple different exercises, very, very simple.

In order to do this one, though, the first one, I need to make sure that you know this particular movement. We call this the thoracic anterior posture glide, which basically means take your mid-back, exhale, round it, inhale, try to extend. Really simple.

So the way that we’re going to target the upper portion of your thoracic spine is we’re going to take the ball, tuck it under your chin. Once again, you’re going to think about making a semi-circle, creating a little bit of a stretch in the back of the neck as you tuck your chin towards your chest. Now you’re just holding the ball here, using the force of your chin. What we want to do now is as we hold that, we’re going to do that very small anterior posterior movement of the mid-back. So, if you can think about your ribs going back, ribs coming forward.

Man sitting at his work desk holding his neck in pain.

The real challenge here is maintaining the tucked chin position as the chest and ribs come forward. What will happen is, because of the positioning of the neck with the ball, that little bit of muscular tension will really help you isolate that upper thoracic spine motion … Typically feels fantastic.

All right, so that’s step one. Typically, as in the previous video, five to ten repetitions of that done every hour, every couple of hours can give you a lot of relief of some of your neck and upper back issues.

The second element then of this exercise, is once we’ve done our basic thoracic work, we now want to add in some scapular work, or shoulder blade work.

So, in previous videos, we’ve worked on exercises that look like this. We call them scapular camshafts, call them whatever you want, shoulder blade circles.

Basically, we’re going to elevate the shoulder blade, pull it back, pull it down, and push it forward. Now what we’re going to do is perform that same exercise again while holding the ball with our chin. So we tuck the chin down, again creating some length through the back of the neck. I like to extend the chest a little bit and as I press into the ball, I go through my little shoulder blade circle.

You need to, again, keep the tension really, really low.

This will feel like an awkward coordination for a lot of people, but this position as you go through this motion, you’ll feel some odd stretching sensations in some of the upper shoulder musculature that often are neglected in a lot of the other things that we do.

So once more, five to ten repetitions each side, shake all that tension out, do that again throughout the day. I guarantee you will wind up feeling much, much better.

Biggest caution here, make sure that you keep the tension low if you have neck issues or other stuff. You want to make sure that you clear these with your healthcare provider.

However, I found these to be super useful for many, many office athletes, so I hope you enjoy them.

If you have any questions, let us know.

Otherwise, good luck.

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